All six regular readers of this blog will know that I attempt at least one new hymn every year as the verse for my Christmas card.
I’m under no illusions that they will endure. I love words and enjoy crafting them in different ways. The satisfaction is as much in the writing as in the singing.
The text I have spent the most time with this year is Matthew 5.1-10: the beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount. I’ve recently asked every community in the Diocese of Oxford to spend some time dwelling in this text and exploring what it means as we seek to be a more contemplative, more compassionate and more courageous church.
A hymn is one way of dwelling in the text. Each half verse takes one beatitude as its theme. It’s not a translation of the words but a reflection on them and especially on the idea that the beatitudes offer us a self-portrait of Christ.
I’m not a musician so always write to a particular and well known tune. The tune this year is Blaenwern, best known as the setting for Charles Wesley’s magnificent hymn, Love Divine. Hum it to yourself as you read the words.
You’re welcome to reproduce the hymn and use it if it’s helpful. Let me know how it goes.
Our new three session course for small groups on the beatitudes can be ordered here.
Gracious Lord, our hands are empty
Beggars seeking life and grace
Graft our lives into your own life
Gift your Spirit in this place
Hearts of stone we lift for blessing
Hearts of flesh we seek anew
Help our eyes see with compassion
Comforter, our joy renew
Servant Lord, you came in meekness
Stooping low to show our worth
Banish pride, restore love’s sweetness
Help us heal your wounded earth
Give us hunger for your kingdom
Thirst to see your ways prevail
Satisfy our hope for justice
Make us lights which will not fail
Living Lord, your name is mercy,
Love made flesh in life and word
Kindness shown to the unworthy
Grace which can be touched and heard
Pure in heart, you offer wholeness
Open eyes that cannot see
Win for all complete forgiveness
Come to set your people free
Son of God we seek your healing
Over this fragmented globe
Mend our lives, our homes, our nations
Making peace, one seamless robe
Help your church to be courageous
Joined in your eternal search
For the lost, the least, the helpless
Make us more a Christ like Church